2 Investigators: District Criticized For Response To Bullying Claims

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Students repeatedly bullied at school often times find themselves trapped, forced to continue going to a school with their tormentors. 

Now, the family of an 11-year-old girl in this situation is taking action that could help other bully victims.

2 Investigator Dave Savini reports.

Alexis Boundas’ classroom this year has been in her basement. What she misses most about school is being with her friends.

Alexis has been home-schooled since leaving Maercker Elementary School in Westmont, she says, because of extreme bullying.

The fifth-grader says she was groped and kissed. She wanted to go to a different school, but district officials did not allow it, even after a terrifying threat from a boy.

“He said, ‘Tonight I’m going to come to your house with my gun and kill all your family,'” Alexis said, adding the boy claimed his mother was a police officer and he had access to a gun.

Tom Boundas, Alexis’s father, says the school did not do a proper investigation and did not even check for witnesses. Then, without her parents’ knowledge, the Maercker School District put Alexis in a room with the boy for a counseling session.

“He just threatened to kill our family,” Tom Boundas says. “You can’t be putting that person in the room with my daughter.”

A few weeks later, Alexis allegedly was assaulted by another student who plunged a sharp pencil into her leg when she told him to stop looking at her test answers.

“He picked up his pencil, sharpened it. He came over and just stabbed me,” she says.

She had to have a doctor remove part of the pencil tip from her leg.

Tiffany Boundas, Alexis mother, said the school did not take this allegation seriously.

“The superintendent actually said, ‘Well, we don’t even know if she did this to herself at home and came to school like this,'” she says.

The A student began having panic attacks and other stress-related medical problems. Two doctors said she should not go back to that school. The family offered to pay for a transfer to a neighboring public school, but the superintendent has not approved that.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Tiffany Boundas.

The family contacted state Rep. Jim Durkin for help.

“I walked out not very satisfied with the meeting,” said Durkin.

He says the superintendent of the west suburban school district tried to rebut and minimize what happened to Alexis. Durkin is now considering creating legislation to allow extreme bullying victims school transfers at no expense.

“Every day a child is out of school, I mean, it’s a terrible thing,” the lawmaker says. “It’s tragic.”

The Boundas family successfully sued the district to get Alexis a tutor while she is home-schooled. They still want her transferred, but now they want the district to pay for it. 

In the meantime, Alexis is now attending a private school. 

School Superintendent Catherine Berning Berning says privacy laws prevent the district from commenting on an individual student.

“District 60 is committed to creating a school environment that is safe, respectful, inclusive and supportive,” she said in a written statement. “We take all allegations of harassment seriously and investigate them thoroughly.”


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  • http://travel2chicago.us/chicago-news-stories-foroct-24-2011/ Chicago News Stories for Oct 24 2011 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Chicago

    […] to announce the cancelation of at least two more weeks of the season, a published report says.2 Investigators: District Criticized For Response To Bullying ClaimsStudents bullied at school find themselves forced to continue going to class with their tormentors. […]

  • GrammarCop

    That Superintendent needs to find a new career…plain and simple!!!

  • MrCrabs

    “District 60 is committed to creating a school environment that is safe, respectful, inclusive and supportive,” she said in a written statement. “We take all allegations of harassment seriously and investigate them thoroughly.” What nonsense. If one of my kids told me that some punk threaten to kill my family, I’d have the police on that punk.

  • Nan Paulick

    Prayers for this family! There is so much that wasn’t even shown, I’m sure. This poor girl has suffered enough, as well as the family. No one will EVER KNOW the pain this family is truly going through, until your children actually experience it. I pray no other families have to endure what this family has endured but the sad fact is, it is happening EVERYDAY and until these school start changing the “we didn’t do anything wrong” attitude, it will continue :(

  • Parent of 3

    What I want to know is why the bully’s parents were not addressed about this issue. Is it now common practice in schools that if a child acts out or is exhibiting threatening behaviors towards others for schools to just “brush it under the rug”? Not only should that student have been expelled, but the parents of that bully should be paying for half of the tutor, ALL of the bullied student’s medical and psychological care related to the incident, and the teacher of the classroom along with the Principal of that school suspended or fired. We trust when our children go to school that they are safe; that teachers are assuring a safe environment conducive to learning.

    I truly hope Rep. Durkin does pass legislation and shows the school superintendent’s that the State of Illinois and the parents are serious about putting an end to this kind of destructive behavior. What’s next? Another Columbine incident, but at an elementary school level?!?

  • Tough love

    Bullies are a part of life. Either you stand up to them or take the beating. Overall, it weeds out the weak in society.

    • Nan Paulick

      Really? I understand everyone is open to their own opinion, but after being through a child that was brutally beaten by 2 girls, one held her while the other beat her, what I can say is, It will make her even STRONGER than the bully but NO ONE deserves what these kids are going through today. And on another note, it doesn’t weed out the weak – it only weeds out those that have no control over their actions or those that have problems at home. It starts in the home.

      I can only pray this little girl finds peace one day soon and knows that what happened to her WAS NOT DESERVING and she is a victim in this.

    • Roberta Waker

      Murder weeds out the weak, too. Does that mean we should allow murderers to run free because they are performing a “public service”? Sounds like you are or were a bully with a bad attitude. NO ONE deserves a beating – we are not a society of barbarians or cave men trying to survive. Maybe the parents of the bullied child should hire a bodyguard to take care of the bully AND the parents. Violence begets violence and it’s only a matter of time until our children won’t be able to go to school unarmed. You DO know that Tough Love doesn’t apply to beating defenseless children, don’t you?

  • Bully vs Bully

    This girl, Alexis Boundas, was well known by many girls to be a bully herself at Maercker Elementary. Clearly, in the end she chose to bully to wrong people.

    • Also A Parent

      Yes this student actually is known to be a bully. She may not have jabbed anyone with a pencil but from myown child’s account she bullies the way a girl will bully by demeaning, antagonizing and manipulating her peeers. Also, from what I understand from other parents in the district the parents have a history of bullyish behavior themselves. There are alot of questions to be answered and I take this one sided report with a grain of salt.


    This is one of the most ludicrous,vile, sickening stories I have seen in a long time. The school district here should be sued and the bullies should be carted off like common criminals. You do the crime you do the time. I am puzzled lately about all these stories in the news about bullying and harassment of kids by kids. Since the beginning of time you’ve had bullies. But back in the day–my mom and dad would never have allowed this. ME being ME would not have either! When did we become so politically correct and so afraid of consequences that we do not protect our kids?! You stab my kid with a pencil in the leg–I cannot publicly state what will happen to you OR your parents if it wasn’t addressed properly. PARENTS–YOU NEED TO HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS! THESE ARE YOUR KIDS BEING HARMED!

    • Roberta Waker

      You are soooo right. If the school can’t handle the problem; then it’s up to the parents. There is NO excuse for bullying. The bully and the parents should be arrested, prosecuted and pay for EVERYTHING, i.e., tutoring, counseling, karate lessons, etc. It’s time to stop this behavior from where it starts – in the home. Maybe we need cameras IN the schools. At the very least, I would have my child wired for sound THEN I would sue the school and everyone involved because that’s the only way they will do something.




    Seems to me that some good ol fashioned a** kickins are in order today. Sorry that is not the “politically correct” response but today these kids like this don’t respect anybody and since authority figures are allowing them to get away with and continue their aggressive behavior it just sends the wrong message that they can. If some of this was nipped in the butt before it started with a few ol fashioned remedies trust me a lot of this would not be happening today. I can remember so many times my mom had to come up to school when we were kids for just all kinds of things but she got up and came out of the house to address the issues BEFORE they got out of hand. Then in our school there was someone called Mr. Collins–and that meant that if you went to Mr. Collins–welll–you knew what you were going to get. And in his office was a giant paddle. Today you go to jail for that. Didn’t hurt any of us! And YEAH all yall that say two wrongs don’t make a right who don’t spank your kids–YEAH I SAID IT–we had MR. COLLINS back in the day. Kids know today they are protected by the laws today and society frowns today on an eye for an eye. But this is outa hand-and kids need to be taught early about the repercussions of their actions before down the line something bad really happens to them–even if it means that someone has to put a foot up their ** in order to refresh their memory on what is acceptable behavior in society! TRULY SAD!

  • VoiceofReason

    It is unfortunate that the reporter did not ask this question:
    Q: Is there another school in the district to which the girl can be transferred?
    (The answer is, “No, there is only one intermediate school in this district.” Other school districts require the child to be a resident of the district in order to attend school there.)

  • Kalzet

    This investigation is garbage. Where is the proof the school district did nothing to properly rectify this situation? This “investigator”, Savini, irresponsibly provides only the parent’s opinion there was nothing (or not enough) done for their daughter. I have no doubt he knew from the start neither the school district nor the police department would be able to provide him any information regarding exactly how this problem was handled by the school. Regarding Rep. Durkin, did he actually communicate with the superintendent;or, did he issue the statement, “The superintendent of the west suburban school district tried to rebut and minimize what happened to Alexis”, based only on a meeting with the parents? Does Rep. Durkin know there are only three schools in this district: elementary (K-1), intermediate (3-5), and middle (6-8)? If the parents want to place their daughter in another school, they need to relocate to another school district.

    • Roberta Waker

      And WHY should the bullied girl’s parents pack up everything they own, sell their house and relocate to another district to avoid these bullies if they are the victims? Running from a problem doesn’t solve it; it needs to be addressed and resolved. I would take action against the bullies, their parents, and the school if they indeed are doing nothing. Didn’t she cry out when her leg was stabbed with a pencil? If so, where was the teacher? She should have gone to the school nurse or the principal IMMEDIATELY. Then her parents should have been notified so they (or the principal) could call the police and charge the boy who stabbed her with assault. THAT is the first step to stop this bullying – charge, arrest, fine, jail, and pay. Sounds right to me.

      • Kalzet

        Sorry Roberta but we do not know the truthful facts in this case because it involves minors; therefore, the facts cannot be provided. How do we know the school hasn’t gone above and beyond the remedies you have suggested? This is a hot topic in the media right now. The parents are taking advantage of this fact to exploit their daughter through the media for their financial gain.

  • Elizabeth Bennett

    What’s wrong with these parents and what’s wrong with the media? Exploitation and sensationalism – of an 11-year old – all for the purpose of extorting tuition from one district to another.

  • Anonymous

    That’s exactly the point! She did not cry out, or tell the teacher. That’s why it is unclear when the pencil lead got stuck in her leg.

  • Former IL Resident....

    This overlooked problem is inexcusable……Her pain is reality of a young student in an unsafe enviornment……My family is doubled taxed (Tuition and paying taxes) we also had to move……Her story is a reality of young students ignored in the name of politics used against a child……

  • Former IL Resident....

    This is about an unsafe school enviornment……….Lets not start blaming parents since its about our children attending an unsafe school enviornment…….Parents with a child that has suffered from physical harm attending school have a right to be heard about their young child’s unnecessary pain from others at school….

  • VoiceofReason

    Other questions a responsible reporter might have asked:
    Did this “victim” threaten one of the bullies just before she was threatened?
    Did one or both of the bullies get suspended for their actions?
    The school district, of course, cannot comment on such matters to protect the rights of the kids.

  • Marlene P.

    I agree with Kalzet. We do not know the entire story. We do not know that the school district did not properly handle the complaints of bullying. What we do know is that this will be handled in court at the taxpayers expense.

  • Former IL Resident

    How do you know taxpayers money will pay for court? Reality is the other student did not need medical care……Only one student received medical care( the victim)….

  • Former IL Resident

    Concerned about taxpayers money? This overlooked problem is a cost just around the corner for the next young student burdened with an Administration not getting past the theory of their PHD nonsense…….Physical harm against another student is the reality of a real situation( this is not just a piece of paper stamped finished)….

  • Nan Paulick

    Some of you people JUST DON’T GET IT! What you don’t realize is there is a little girl that is a victim PERIOD! For those of you that are questioning this family – SHAME ON YOU! I can only PRAY you never experience what this family is going through. What you don’t see is 4 hours of interviewing and only 4 minutes on TV. Please, your negative comments are your opinion, but don’t use this website as your soapbox. The FAMILY is paying for court costs, not tax dollars, get the facts straight. I have been in their shoes, and after 18 months I am STILL struggling with an injured daughter. Stop insulting, stop questioning! Even if you have all the facts, you will never know the pain this little girl is feeling, or this family. They came forward because it is a problem in their school and SOMEONE has to stand up to stop it.

  • Former IL Resident

    I understand as a parent doubled tax because my Kindergarten daughter was seriously injured at her former IL Public School…..( Tuition for private school and real estate taxes that pay for an unsafe public school)…..

    A young student subjected to this horrible unnecessary pain from an unsafe school enviornment is inexcusable…….My daughter was held hostage with ice packs and was going to be put on her school bus with a busted upper jaw, covered in blood, and three upper teeth jammed into her upper jaw….

    My empathy is for the young student…..Thank goodness her Senator is working with her parents……

  • This is not your story.

    Former IL Resident and Nan Paulick it appears you are both having very emotional reactions to this story because your children have been harmed by bullies. This report is about accusing this particular school district of not properly handling this particular bullying incident. You know the facts in your situation but you don’t know the facts in this story. This Alexis was the “mean girl” of her grade. Violence happens; it’s never acceptable or deserved but it can be provoked. The question parents of the district are asking is was this girl bullied or were her experiences a consequence of her own bullying? This is not a black and white case and there is no clear “victim”. What is clear is the parents apparently have no shame in exploiting their daughter all over the local news to reach their goals.

    • Nan Paulick

      I totally agree! But it is not your story either and unless you are a 10 year old child in that school, the moment this happened, you don’t know the facts either. These parents are not EXPLOITING their daughter, they are coming out to the public and raising awareness that this is happening.

      What I am trying to pass along is, I don’t care who you are, this little girl didn’t deserve this. Unless you were there, NO ONE knows. Regardless, it is the mental healing that needs to take place for Alexis and ADULTS on here going back and forth nit picking each others’ statements are no different. Without families like this, kids will continue to get away with physical abuse or bullying.

      Again, it is NOT my story, but it ISN’T yours either and shame on you for calling a 10 year old a “MEAN GIRL”. That in itself is bullying. Where does it stop?

  • Reality Check

    I’ll repeat: Violence happens; it’s never acceptable or DESERVED but it can be provoked. Speaking of nit picking, “mean girl”= bully- is it really bullying to call a bully a bully? You’re being a little irrational at this point. It’s been stated by many other posters that the girl exhibited bullish behavior herself. Your statement that the parents are coming out merely to raise public awareness is laughable.

  • Former IL Resident......

    UMM….Laughable? A child was physically harmed and a human being would understand her situation, thus; its not merely your lack of empathy……

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